Friday, February 14, 2014

Ivory RPG - A Hypothetical Pure Exploration RPG

The Game

Post 1: Ivory RPG
Post 2: Game Structure
Post 3: Budget
Post 4: Planning
Post 5: Goals
Post 6: Recruitment
Post 7: Report
Post 8: Implementation
Post 9: Gamification
Post 10: Using an Existing RPG System

Example 1: Regency Era Social Season
Example 2: Archaeological Expedition
Example 3: Fantasy Expedition

In my head, I have this idea for a full-exploration RPG. This isn't a fully fleshed out idea, despite my years of wanting to do this. In many ways, I have no idea how such a game would be done. What I do know is that picking a good rules set, and even more importantly, an appropriate ethic(?) or ideal(?) behind that rules set is even more critical.

Even the most basic question, "What is Exploration?" must be answered well if the design is to work. Is exploration going to new places, or is it exploring the existing places around you? Is it learning new meta-facts about the world, or new histories, or new stories? It is certainly all the above is some combination.

What is the overall feel that I am going for? Can the players identify with the genre? Will they find its presentation interesting?

How do you reward exploration? Is it gold, or experience, or social rank? What makes the players feel like they've reached milestones?

What stats, skills, and abilities should a character have so that the players think in terms of what those items open up in play? Which ones should they not have so that those avenues are artificially closed off, forcing their way away from non-exploration tropes?

At what level of detail should such exploration exist? Should players be organizing their own expeditions, including paying the porters, calculating days of food, and securing travel passes? Or should such a game be happier-and-go-luckier, where much of that is hand-waved through, and attention is only paid to information gathering?

Is there magic? What are the natural limits of magic? What keeps magic from being the "I win" card?

Why not use X or Y existing game system? Couldn't it just be altered? What are the pros and cons of modifying an existing RPG vs. growing a new one?

Those are just some questions off the top of my head.

I have some crude answers for some of these questions, and some desires for other areas of the game.

The only thing that I've done so far is give the project a name. IVORY. It doesn't stand for anything, but I hope it evokes the idea of the legendary elephant graveyard.